There are, on average, 200 appellate cases addressing the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) annually—though this number includes published and unpublished opinions. There are usually around thirty reported state appellate court cases involving ICWA issues every year. There has never been a systematic look at the cases on appeal including an analysis of who is appealing, what the primary issues are on appeal, and what trends are present. This article seeks to fill that void.

This article provides a comprehensive catalog of published ICWA jurisprudence from across all fifty states in 2017. Designed as a quick reference for the ICWA practitioner, this article summarizes key case decisions that have interpreted the law in meaningful, significant, or surprising ways. It also tracks current attempts by ICWA’s opponents to overturn the law. By providing an overview of last year’s ICWA cases, this article is meant to keep practitioners up-to-date so they can be effective in the juvenile courtroom without sorting through and reading the dozens of cases published across all fifty jurisdictions.



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